SIM 2012

Image shared by Bricolage108 under a Creative Commons License

I have been fortunate to spend two days at SIM 2012 in Thunder Bay.  It is the third SIM session I have attended this year, and it is always a time of intense learning.

The question is always, “What will I take away and integrate into my practice?”.

While I continue to ponder that, here are some of the topics we covered.

Before the event, we read three articles posted on my Scoop-It page here: http://www.scoop.it/t/leading-learning/p/1468464263/watkins-09-collaborative-pdf

or on Chris Watkins’ site at the Institute of Education, University of London.

All three articles provide very practical suggestions for enhancing student learning.

During the event we used some of these resources to help focus our conversations.

1) Sugata Mitra and the “Hole in the Wall” experiments.

Here is a link to the 2007 TED Talk in case this is a new concept for you: http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html

“Minimally Invasive Education is defined as a pedagogic method that uses the learning environment to generate an adequate level of motivation to induce learning in groups of children, with minimal, or no, intervention by a teacher.”

http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/MIE.html

(Research findings here.)

From this research stems the need to teach three key things in schools:

a) Reading comprehension

b) Information searching and retrieval skills

c) A rational system to know what to believe in

(I think a lot about the third suggestion.  Should the indoctrination of children be permitted?  Would the attacks on Michael Mann (see former posting:http://fryed.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/considering-how-we-teach-science/) be happening if we were doing this well in schools?)

2) Dr. Allan Luke

Some of Dr. Allan Luke’s earlier work can be found here:

http://resources.curriculum.org/secretariat/may31.shtml

At SIM we watched Dr. Luke speak about the importance of rich content in spite of the level of basic skills.  We can engage learners in meaningful “sustained, rich, scaffolded conversations”.  “The dumbing down of the curriculum because we believe the students cannot handle complex topics when they have deficiencies in basic skills is insidious.”

While engaging students in important inquiry and rich content, every teacher should be trained to work to enhance reading comprehension in every student, from the phys. ed. teacher to the math teacher.  We all have the responsibility to continue to improve literacy skills.

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